Tag Archives: appearance

Beginning Blogging – Gravatars and Headers

Having chosen an appropriate name for your blog and selected a theme, the next step is to think about a Gravatar. A Gravatar is your visual ‘identity’ on the web. It usually runs across the whole of the social media scene – Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, blog etc.  (Although it doesn’t have to.) This, if you like is your ‘brand’ and allows you to be recognised on the different platforms. The image that you choose can be a photograph of you, a cartoon character, a logo or a symbol. It doesn’t really matter. Often it is something that is related to your identity but not always. As with many things it can be changed. Many people start off with a picture and then move to a photograph of themselves as they become more comfortable on the web.

This is the image I use on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Ravelry.

This is the image I use on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Ravelry. It is also the image that comes up beside any comments I leave on other blogs, Facebook pages etc.

This is also on my blog header (as I am sure you have noticed). You do not have to use the same picture, indeed I have been toying with the idea of changing my header to photographs of some of my makes. It is up to you.

When I first started this I did not know a lot about photography. I knew that I wanted to take the best photograph that I could as it was a representation of me (first impressions and all that). I also had read a bit about light boxes so set up my own makeshift version using a white sheet draped over a chair in front of my patio doors.

I was not kidding!

I was not kidding!

As to what I would photograph – I decided to go with items related to my identity. As you can see this involved grabbing my smelly trainers, a ball of yarn and some hooks and needles.

Once you have taken your photograph you need to upload them onto your computer.

Gravatar

DASHBOARD – USERS – MY PROFILE

This is the page where you put up a lot of information about yourself BUT be warned it is public information so think about what how much information you wish to include. A lot of my page is blank as I didn’t want my real identity to be known. Therefore the only boxes I have filled in as my user name, the name I wish to be known as publicly (knitnrun4sanity) and the bit titled ‘about me’.

I have filled this bit in (you can see what I wrote in the about tab at the top of this page). I did this because when visiting new blogs I like to read a bit about the blog and the people behind them (in other words I am nosy). Not everybody has anything in their ‘About’ tab. It is up to your own preferences.

As you go down I have filled in my public e-mail (the one connected to the blog with the same name). I have also linked in my Facebook page (simply copy and paste the URL) and click on add link.

But now to the Gravatar bit. On the top right of the page there is a square box. Mine shows my picture and has the words ‘change Gravatar’ underneath it (Yours may say something different but will give the same options if you click on it). If I click on the bottom link I can click on one of four options. The one I used is:  Upload a picture from your computer. If you click on browse you can find your photo and upload it. The other options are to use a webcam to take a picture of yourself or put a link to a picture found on the web. This is also the place where you would change the picture should you ever want to.

Before you leave the page please do remember to go back towards the top and click on the update profile box so you save all your hard work.

Heading

DASHBOARD – APPEARANCE – HEADER

On this page you can browse through your files on the computer and upload a picture to use as your header. It will come up with a preview of what it will actually look like. It can be changed so do not worry about it being permanent if you do not like it. This time the save changes box is at the bottom of the page.

On this page you will also see a box about whether you want the text to be shown. Adding this text will be the subject of next weeks post.

I do hope this is all clear. If it is not then please do ask – I am really happy to help and I shall not think you are being thick. I remember just how much time and effort (blood, sweat and tears) this took me which is why I am doing this in the first place. In the future I may also write down how to set up twitter accounts etc if it would be useful.

I am just really grateful that I have managed to get this far on my post without losing it all 🙂 Hope you all have a good week.

 

 

 

Beginning Blogging – Choosing a theme

Themes:

As stated last week, the next important decision to be made is what theme will you use? I say this is important and it is but it can be changed at a later date. There, does that take a bit of the stress away? I hope so because this next fact may just bring it right back again. There are over 1,000 themes on WordPress, 1,690 to be precise although this figure will change as they keep on bringing new ones out all the time.

Now, before you shut down in disgust we can make it a bit easier for you. To start with, some of the themes are categorized as premium and you have to pay extra for these. At this stage I am assuming that this is not an option for you. The next thing, and to be honest the one that I used, is your gut. As you scroll down the page looking at all the different designs I can almost guarantee that you will be drawn to some. This may be due to the colour, the style or the pictures.

Current theme preview

This is the theme that I used: Shaan. The main reason I chose this is due to the colour. I like it. Simple. Yes I like the photograph but this photo is not on my site, my own photographs are. In fact when I look at this my blog is actually quite different to this. The recognisable bit is the colour. This is because you may be looking at the theme demo but that is all it is, a demo. You will be able to make it your own as you go on through the choices that you make. (More on this later).

When I was looking through all the themes with a friend I found myself saying things like You need to think about your content.

This is because some themes will lend themselves better to some content than others. For example:

This Hatch design is suited to a heavily visual site with lots of photographs.

Whereas this DePo Masthead theme is a magazine style with several columns appearing at the same time.

I knew that I wanted some photographs mixed in with text. I didn’t want multiple columns and I liked a bit of colour. In fact it is probably easier to draw up a list of the features that you don’t like than the ones you do. I knew from having looked at other blogs that I needed 2 columns, one for the content and one for the bits down the side e.g. Twitter, Facebook links etc.

So, in summary, we have identified four strategies to help you choose your theme:

1) Going with your gut feeling

2) Thinking a little bit about what the content of your blog will be and what the best layout would be.

3) Thinking about what features you have liked on other blogs.

4) Identifying the things you don’t like as you go through the themes.

These 4 will narrow your choices down a fair bit I promise.

When thinking about steps three and four from above it may be worth jotting these down as they will come in useful as we move through this process later on.

As you look down the list of themes there are three words underneath each image:

Activate – click this when you decide you would like to choose a theme.

Live Preview: This will show you what it looks like on a full-page.

Details: This will give a brief overview of the features of a theme.

If I click on live preview I get my page in the style of the new theme so this feature even better when you are already up and blogging.

This brings me to the next bit What if I want to look at themes later or change them?

To do this go to your dashboard. This will bring up a menu down the left hand side. Click on  Appearance (towards the bottom) and then you will find Themes. Click on that and it will bring up the screen where you can search through the themes.

Once you have settled on a theme you are happy with (for a while at least), you can go back to the Appearance menu button, and explore some of the options down there. On mine for example, if I click on background I can change the colour. The Custom menu will be where you can upgrade your site by paying for different fonts etc.

Next week we shall look at the header option (which will tie into the Gravatar which I said I would cover this week but feel I have waffled on enough) and also look at some of the widgets you can use.

As always, any questions then do please ask me. I would also love to know what themes people use and why. I think that it may be time to have a bit of a change of mine!